SHARING OUR FAITH
[D] A BIBLICAL EVANGELISTIC STRATEGY
CHRISTIAN APPROACHES TO OTHER FAITHS
If Christ is unique and the Christian faith is true then:
Are others simply delusions of Satan?
Are others demonic?
Do others contain much that is good and true but not saving faith?
Do others contain truth for all truth is God's?
How we answer the above questions determines our view or approach to other faiths?
- Exclusivism (exclusivists)--(particularism)
- Inclusivism. (inclusivists, universalists)
- Pluralism (pluralists)
FINDING A METHOD FOR WITNESS ( How to..)
Note: There are a number of variables to consider: Consider the people - age, men or women, cultural and religious background, method of learning. Consider the situation - public, private, group, one to one etc; Consider yourself: your gifts, abilities, no one is expected to use or excel in all methods,
- Proclamation: To proclaim Christ by speaking or preaching. An appropriate style for meetings, addressing a group, supper parties, radio work, television, and allows the speaker to give large amounts of information or prepare for discussions. But it is one-sided.
- Confrontational: To openly challenge the issues of belief of the other person. It may be apologetical and polemical, plus via the spoken or written word. Not allowed in Muslim countries publicly, but in the UK it is possible in the University situation, or Hyde Park Corner. This method is often more one-sided, with the speaker in control. It can be offensive unless handled with care by an experienced person. One needs to prepare and discern when it is appropriate to challenge.
- Debate: Using the conventional format of debate, each speaker presents a topic or his side of an issue relevant to the faith of Islam or Christianity. It involves interaction of two speakers; presentation, rebuttals and most likely questions from the audience. Requires skills and needs careful preparation to be of value. Lots of common ground factors can be given to create a genial atmosphere.
- Dialogue: The art of learning how to talk or carry on effective discussions with people of other faiths. One needs to be a good listener not just a 'talker'. Good dialogue does not mean a surrender of positions, or syncretism. Set out the purposes of the dialogue: is it to raise questions? Is it for learning and sharing information? Is it for persuasion and hope of conversion? Is conversion disallowed. Needs good preparation.
- Friendship evangelism: There is not just one method, which is right or superior, and the other being of inferior quality. Rather there are as many ways as there are situations which need specific attention. Even though many acknowledge the proceeding statement, many still advocate that friendship evangelism is the only one which should be used with Muslims. This is a relational approach or personal one: working one-to-one mostly (or with one family), not a group setting, building up a relationship, rather than a chance meeting with a stranger, spending time with them in various activities, not just preaching the Gospel to them. Genuine care and interest is shown to one another. You are good friends in the full sense of the word. In natural and everyday scenes you will be living out your Christian life before you friend. There will be exchanges in conversation where you will express Christian truths, pray with your friend and they will be observing you practising the faith (fasting, celebrating Easter). On some occasions a confrontation encounter may occur as difficult question are asked, but a good friends knows how to disagree in the appropriate manner. Friendship is not an easy method nor a way to avoid problems you perceive the other methods entail. Love is costly and includes pain. This method has often be spoke of as the 'incarnational approach', being like Christ who humbled himself, becoming a man, a slave and died for us that we might live. You can not programme when you will share, and when they will want to be with you, friends do not live by appointments. You need to listen and be sensitive to your friends needs and beliefs.
- Whole life..means your message and life must be one.
- in reality you may use several methods in your friendship, teaching, telling stories, listening, dialogue or a one to one debate on some issue...
- unlimited time and not controllable, can be stressful, and also strong emotional attachment
- everyone can do this method.
- Contextual: The word was coined in 1973-1974 to denote the social and cultural dimensions of a scripture text or religious situation. The idea arose out a concern to avoid objectional factors or conflict over issues which in reality could be said to be non-essential and fit in the category of cultural issues. In other words there was no Biblical foundation for claiming that these issues were Biblical commands of behaviour (ie the mode of prayer:- standing to pray, sitting kneeling, or falling face down on the ground). Likewise, in this category would be the mode of worship, sermon styles, music, or the dress codes of the pastor or people. The aim is to communicate the Gospel in the idiom and language and culture of the receivers/hearers, and not to expect the hearers to become like the communicants to receive it. (To become British or Western to be a Christian).
Questions: Which method suits you, or with which one are you more comfortable?
- Is the confrontation method acceptable or is friendship evangelism preferable?
- Explain your answer
- How do you make relationships with Muslims?
Are the above Biblical? A look at Paul's Methods:
Paul contextualized : Acts 13: 13-15; 14:14-18; 17: 22-31
Paul Confronted: Acts17: 17; 19:8-9;; 13:46; 18:28; 2 Cor.5:11; 10:5
Paul Preached the Gospel: Rom 1: 16; 15: 20; 1 Cor 1:23;
Paul had results: Acts 17:4, 11:34; 13:32; 17:32; 18:6;
HOW SHOULD WE WITNESS?
- Know the Gospel well. What are the basic things a person must know to become a Christian?
- God is one God, sovereign, Creator acting in history.
- God is our all powerful, all knowing Provider
- God communicates with man and keeps His Word.
- God loves man and wants fellowship with him.
- God is holy, righteous, and hates sin.
- God punishes sin by eternal separation from Him
- Man is accountable to God for all he says and does.
- Man is a sinner, separated from God by his sin.
- Man cannot save himself from God's punishment
- Only God's perfect sacrifice can atone for man's sin
- Jesus is the perfect sacrifice, the Atonement
- Man can approach God through this sacrifice, and it involves faith. Salvation is by faith
- Know how to you the Bible to share this message of the Gospel. Which stories and passages teach the above truths. If they read, let them read it, and also give them the Gospels or portions of scripture.
- Using Story: (most of the world learns orally, from story, poems, proverbs, and can reproduce what they learn in this manner.)
- This means you are giving them an oral Bible and connecting it to a chronological frame work, which is desirable to do also.
- Select a group of stories that teach the various points of the Gospel, and learn them well.
- Ask Questions: help people discover the truth. This is more powerful them telling them the answers.
- Use your story, your testimony..a current one
- Always employ prayer.. for them, and with them, if possible.
- Use comparative studies: the Bible and the Qur'an, or topics like fasting, prayer, forgiveness,..